The health of the wide receiver group was a big concern heading into this week. But there is a good chance the Vikings will be at full strength Sunday.
Charles Johnson (ribs) made no guarantees, but he is optimistic about his chances of returning to the lineup against the Chiefs. Mike Wallace (knee) returned to practice today after getting banged up in the Broncos game. Both Johnson and Wallace were limited participants. Jarius Wright (hand) was a full participant again today.
If all three are ready to roll by Sunday, the Vikings will have to decide if they want to dress six receivers. If they don’t, then who sits down?
“It’s not really in our best interest to tell Kansas City what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it and why we’re doing it,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said today.
Johnson, Wallace and Wright are the top three players on the depth chart, so if they are deemed healthy enough to play, one can assume they will.
Stefon Diggs caught six passes for 87 yards in his NFL debut in Denver. Special-teams standout Adam Thielen produced, too, with six catches for 70 yards. Ideally, the Vikings would have both of those guys available.
And then there is Cordarrelle Patterson, who got an opportunity to play his way back into the mix at receiver but had just one catch for nine yards. Right now, his only role is as the kickoff returner, but with his longest return being just 33 yards, it’s not as if he has been special in that role this year.
While special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was not asked whether the Vikings might sit Patterson down this week, he did say that he would trust cornerback Marcus Sherels to do the job if circumstances required it.
“Absolutely,” Priefer said. “Sherels, Stefon Diggs, Cordarrelle, they’re all very solid kickoff returners. And Marcus has done it here before.”
Coach Mike Zimmer won’t have to declare which wide receivers will be active until 90 minutes before Sunday’s kickoff. Turner wouldn’t speculate on whom or how many Zimmer might pick, but he does believe it’s a good thing that the Vikings will have a lot to think about.
“You can’t ask to be in a better position,” Turner said. “When you have two guys get hurt and the guys who go in and play for them catch five or six balls. We’ve got a great group of guys, and throughout the year we’re going to need them all.”
In other injury news, tight end Rhett Ellison (knee) was added to the injury report today and was a limited participant in practice. Defensive end Justin Trattou (ankle) was the only Vikings player who did not practice. Safety Andrew Sendejo (knee) and cornerback Jabari Price (shoulder) were limited.